What Features Should a Canopy Have?

Nearly all structures carried at Portable Garage Depot and Shelters of America are canopies, including both permanent canopies like carports and portable garages and temporary structures like pop-up canopies and party tents. But, what characteristics should a canopy have? As a canopy essentially protects your vehicle – or you – outdoors, it needs to meet certain expectations. For a permanent shelter like a carport, this includes:

• Being made from heavy-duty polyethylene. Medium-duty polyethylene and vinyl are generally considered too weak for repeated outdoor use and will become worn sooner. The only exception to this rule is an all-metal carport.
• Being waterproof. If water can seep through a canopy or rust the metal frame, the structure will not sufficiently protect your vehicle, be it daily protection or seasonal storage.
• Being UV resistant. UV rays can damage the surface of any vehicle left outdoors. On a minor level, this means the paint color may fade. More serious results include cracking any exterior or interior plastic parts.
• Being rot and mildew resistant. A canopy shouldn’t have mold and mildew building up on it, and, likewise, it should prevent mold, mildew, and dry rot from forming underneath on the vehicle.
• Being rip-stop or rip-proof. Both qualities are essentially the same thing, but the canopy shouldn’t rip unless hit by a severe natural disaster, like a tornado or hurricane. Ordinary rain and snow storms shouldn’t rip or damage the canopy material.
• Being fire resistant. Not all outdoor canopies are, but it’s a bonus if the canopy meets California fire codes for fire retardant properties.

As far as temporary canopies like pop-up and party tents are concerned, these generally have the waterproof and UV resistant properties, as they need to do these things temporarily. But, being made from polyester, the material is more prone to ripping, which is why the structure is temporary instead of permanent.

Why Use a Seasonal Vehicle Shelter?

Seasonal vehicles, as explained by their name, can only be used for certain parts of the year. Whether you go camping with an RV or smaller camper or prefer to go boating, any of these vehicles need to be put in storage. For some who own a brick and mortar garage, this is a no-brainer, as a boat or camper will fit in the garage. But what do you do if you don’t own a garage? One option is to put up a portable storage building for your shelter. Such dealers as Portable Garage Depot and Shelters of America make portable storage sheds specifically designed for these buildings, including RVs with a longer body and additional height.

Some might argue that leaving your vehicle outside exposes it to the elements. Of course, this is actually leaving your vehicle outdoors and not fully protected by a shelter. Any portable shelter for a seasonal vehicle consists of a galvanized steel frame and a polyethylene canopy. The canopy, which covers the roof and all sides, is made from heavy-duty polyethylene and is treated to be UV resistant, waterproof, and rot and mildew resistant. But, as some air is allowed to circulate under the canopy, moisture doesn’t get trapped under the shelter, as it does with shrink-wrapping a boat, and the vehicle won’t have dry rot, mildew, or mold build up on its surface.

These structures, essentially, can be stored anywhere on your property and can last through rain, wind, and snow. Some structures, however, are better for more extreme weather conditions like snow. If your area experiences large snowfalls, a rounded roof shelter is better for long-term protection of your boat, RV, or other seasonal vehicle, as the snow or water will roll off the roof instead of building up on top. With full protection on all sides, weather, including UV rays and water, generally stays away from the vehicle. But, as animals can come in, checking on the vehicle occasionally is a good idea.

Zoning Laws for Carports

Installing a carport is significantly more convenient and economical than constructing a brick-and-mortar garage from scratch. Both structures, however, may need local approval, as seen in a recent news item about a man fighting for his carport. For him, as well as others, the carport on his property doesn’t comply with local zoning regulations. This includes the dimensions of the building, as well as having one on his property. But when does a carport, portable garage, or temporary shed constitute as a permanent structure in the same vein as a deck or porch? According to the article, this is generally when the structure is cemented into the ground. If you plan to pull the structure from the ground and not keep it in place permanently, the carport or portable garage doesn’t need a building permit.

For those that want a carport or portable garage on their property, this poses somewhat of a dilemma, but that can be quickly resolved by contacting any local office in charge on zoning regulations. As these temporary structures may count as permanent, contact your local office about getting a building permit anyway for one of these structures. If you do need a building permit, ask:

• Does a carport count as a permanent structure only if you have to put it in the ground? Is it not a permanent structure if you don’t cement it or set it in concrete and take it down for part of the year? As RV and boat canopies may only be up for part of the year, asking this is important, as putting up an RV canopy might end up being a permanent structure needing approval in your area.
• What dimensions are allowed? Where on my property can I put this building? As
carports and other portable storage buildings come in a number of sizes, zoning laws may have limits on how large a portable garage, carport, or RV shelter can be, as well as where you can place it on your property.

As purchasing a portable shelter can be a small investment, asking these questions before you purchase a portable storage building might help you from picking a product that can’t be put up on your property.

Pop Up Canopies and Party Tents Seen at Local Fair

Where’s the place you’re most like to see pop up canopies? Although beaches and backyards are two common locations to see a canopy, the location that often has mass quantities of these structures is a fair. Within the past two weeks, Wallingford, a town near the location of Shelters of America and Portable Garage Depot, held its annual Taste of Wallingford Festival. The main purpose is to have all, or most, of the restaurants and cafes in the area showcase their products, be it New Haven style pizza or a good cup of coffee, but craft vendors and live music are still present in the area downtown. But, aside from these main attractions, the secondary attraction is to see several pop up canopy structures all in one place, which can be seen in the pictures below:

Taste of Wallingford Canopy 3

Taste of Wallingford 1

Taste of Wallingford Canopy 2

Similar pop up canopies can be bought from Portable Garage Depot in a number of shapes, all of which can be seen in the picture above. From referencing the selection on Portable Garage Depot, the most common structure seen at the Taste of Wallingford is the straight legged pop up canopy, although some of the longer designs are available.

As these structures can be set up easily, they provide temporary shelter and can be transported easily by being folded up and put in a bag, which will fit in the trunk of any car or truck. Larger, longer portable canopies can be seen in both the pictures and in Portable Garage Depot’s selection, and these structures generally have separate poles and a canopy, but putting together the shelter still only takes a short amount of time. Regardless, most of these structures have a powder-coated steel or aluminum frame and a polyester or polyethylene canopy that is treated to be UV resistant and waterproof.

Polyethylene Canopies

All types of portable storage buildings have one thing in common: a polyethylene canopy. The canopy usually serves as the covering for the roof, although shed-like structures often use them for walls and doors. This type of canopy has the same composition as a polyethylene tarp and, in many cases, a replacement canopy for one of these shelters can be created by a tarp fitted to the appropriate size. Although some shelters, such as carports, may be designed with a metal roof, the polyethylene material is designed to last a long time, as well. Warranties on the canopy itself generally last up to five years and then the material can be replaced easily then.

The polyethylene used is heavy duty, as this is ideal for constant outdoor exposure. The heavy-duty polyethylene canopies are then treated to have several qualities to withstand any of the elements outside. This includes being treated to be waterproof, UV resistant, rot resistant, and mildew resistant. Some are even treated to be fire retardant, according to stringent California fire codes. Aside from these treatments, the heavy-duty nature of the fabric has a 14 by 14 denier count, which is designed to be rip-proof. These qualities not only prevent the fabric from deteriorating or ripping but also protect any of the investments inside the canopy structure.

For some structures, a simple tarp can serve as a replacement canopy, especially as individual tarps for any outdoor uses are designed in white, silver, or green. Some canopy structures, however, have a more specific design, which isn’t always met by the design of a tarp. Shed-shaped portable shelters, for example, often have a canopy with three walls and a roof shaped like a shed that fits over the traditional frame. Rounded roof canopies have the same type of concept. Dealers of portable garages and other portable buildings often carry these specific replacement canopies for outdoor shelters of various shapes.

Large-Size Rounded Roof Shelters

The previous post was about peaked roof shelters on a larger scale, also referred to as industrial size shelters, and rounded roof shelters can be found on this scale, as well. At this height, rounded roof shelters are used for all of the same purposes as the peaked shelters from before, but merely the shape is different. If you’re looking for an alternative to constructing a new barn, one of these industrial sized shelters can be constructed instead. As with all types of portable storage buildings, these can be expanded over time if you need to add any additional vehicles, equipment, or other investments and don’t have enough storage space.

The typical rounded roof portable garage most are familiar with is the smaller sized shelter, which is usually the longer shelters used for RVs and other seasonal vehicle storage. These shelters are longer than they are wide. Barn-style rounded roof shelters, on the other hand, have the opposite type of dimensions, with the width being longer or equal to the length. In terms of storing vehicles, however, the vehicles, be it RVs or farm equipment, should be able to fit inside one of these shelters. Doors, in the case of these shelters, are at least twelve feet high. Larger vehicles needing to fit into the canopy will need larger doors.

With the last industrial sized shelter mentioned on this blog, the doors were insulated aluminum roll-up doors. This, however, is somewhat of an anomaly in terms of portable shelter construction, and usually the standard roll up or zipper doors are made from the same polyethylene material as the rest of the shelter. All of these rounded roof shelters have attached roll up or zipper doors made from the same heavy-duty polyethylene treated to be UV resistant and waterproof.

Peak Style Storage Buildings

One product sold on portable storage building sites like Shelters of America and Portable Garage Depot is a peak style storage building. These industrial-sized portable buildings resemble portable garages, somewhat, but are designed on a larger and sturdier scale. Some portable buildings are designed for people to go inside and work, and that’s often the purpose of these larger buildings, although some can be used for storing multiple large vehicles. The sturdiness that these buildings have is rooted – literally – in the structure of the building, including a solid, square end pipe ending frame, and in the stakes used to hold it into the ground.

One of these industrial sized storage buildings, on the smaller end, can be 20 feet wide, 30 feet long, and sixteen feet high. As this size is on the lower end of industrial sized structures, others expand on these dimensions. The door, in addition, is at least twelve feet high. Buildings designed for holding larger vehicles, such as trucks and RVs, may need a higher door to fit the vehicle inside. Regardless, the overall structure is much like a barn, only portable. Like a barn, they can store various pieces of farm equipment or seasonal vehicles, or can be used as a large work space. As a result, the entire space, once the door is pulled down, is fully enclosed.

The main characteristic of a peaked storage building is the sturdiness and, inside, the frame includes metal rafters, which are spaced six feet apart, as part of the galvanized steel frame. Another important quality is the door, which, for these larger buildings, is a steel roll up door, as opposed to the polyethylene roll up or zipper doors seen on smaller shelters. While both types of roll up doors are effective for their respective structures, the roll up door on these larger structures is made of insulated aluminum.

Different Types of Portable Garage Frames

As you can see from the Shelters of America video above, portable storage buildings come in a variety of styles. This includes the two you see here, a barn-style portable building and a peaked roof portable garage, as well as the rounded roof portable garages that were mentioned in previous posts. Some flat roof portable canopies are available, but these are rarely used as permanent shelters and, instead, as garden canopies. What do you use each type of portable building for? Are some styles of portable buildings better than others for certain pieces of equipment?

The peaked roof portable garage is one of the more common types of portable buildings on the market. From general portable shelters like carports to smaller portable sheds, this design is used. In some cases, as for carports, polyethylene side walls aren’t added and the polyethylene roof protects the vehicle sufficiently. But if you need all-around coverage, which is important if a seasonal vehicle is being stored, then one of these shelters can be designed with polyethylene canopy walls. This design is standard for smaller portable sheds. The peaked roof canopy in the video, however, is taller than average and is probably best used for RV storage or as a carport for a medium-sized truck.

The second style of shelter seen in the video is a barn-style portable garage. Essentially, this type of peaked shelter functions much like the ordinary peaked roof ones, except it’s a wider structure. Because of the barn-like style and shed-like design, these shelters are typically used for housing farm equipment. Farm equipment, like vehicles, includes regularly used and seasonal designs, and one of these barn-shaped shelters can house both regularly-used and seasonal farm equipment equally.

Setting up an RV Shelter

If you’re someone who goes camping regularly, you would like your RV or camper to last several years. Owning an RV requires significant maintenance, especially as it is a seasonal vehicle and will be in storage for several months during the year. One way to store an RV is by using a large portable garage, particularly a rounded roof style portable building. This type of portable building is longer than average and is usually designed as being taller and narrower than peaked roof portable garages. For a better idea of how RV storage with a rounded roof portable garage works, watch the Shelters of America video below:

Two options are available for at-home RV storage if you don’t own a brick-and-mortar garage: an RV tarp or a portable garage. While custom fitted RV canopies are available, a portable garage shaped for your RV, much like the rounded roof portable buildings seen in the video above, gives the vehicle more breathing room and, when the RV is in use, the shelter can function as a carport or as additional storage during the summer months.

When picking out one of these shelters for an RV, the one thing to consider is how large the structure should be. First, all of the dimensions of the vehicle should be taken into account, and this includes the height, width, and length of the vehicle. Any appendages to the vehicle, such as roof ventilation should be added to the overall dimensions. As an RV will be in storage for several months, the building should be slightly larger than the vehicle, or large enough that the vehicle and a person can fit inside. Although the building itself is designed to protect the RV from UV and water exposure, the vehicle should still be checked for dry rot, mildew, and if any small animals crawled inside.

Rounded Roof Portable Garages

Portable garages come in several shapes, some of which may accommodate your needs better than others. One common type of portable storage building is a rounded roof shelter, which has a tall, curved frame and is usually used for longer vehicles like RVs. Smaller versions are available but, generally, portable garages with rounded roofs are used for longer vehicles. The frame for this shelter, which can be seen in the Shelters of America YouTube video below, is essentially composed of curved pieces of galvanized steel – all of the same size – connected together by straight pieces of steel.

 
Rounded roof portable garages have the same composition as other types of portable shelters, with a galvanized steel frame and a polyethylene canopy. Rounded roof portable buildings are better suited to certain climates, however. In general, a portable garage frame and canopy should withstand faster winds and large amounts of snow or rain, but rounded roof portable garages are better suited for people needing storage in areas experiencing large rain and snow falls. The rounded design allows snow or rain to simply roll off the roof and not accumulate on top.

In terms of assembly, as you can see by the video above, the polyethylene canopy stretches from one side to the other, once the frame as been assembled. As a shelter, this fully-enclosed design, as soon as you add back and front polyethylene zipper doors, is ideal for protecting vehicles or other investments that will be in storage for several months. This includes RVs, boats, motorcycles, and farm equipment. For all-around coverage, the polyethylene canopy keeps out UV rays and is waterproof and, being somewhat breathable, allows air to circulate and prevent mildew and dry rot from forming on the vehicle.